Actually, to be precise, the sprawling complex that Fisher Body once called home is only one of the 18 ROUSH buildings in the Detroit area. Clearly, we're talking about a lot more than a couple of guys turning wrenches in a pole barn, so click through and take a trip with us to see what the folks at ROUSH are involved in on a day-to-day basis.
Fresh Mustangs are shipped directly from Ford, and wait outside in a huge holding lot until it's time for the transformation to begin. From there, the ponycars are brought into one end of the building where they're cleaned up before surgery.
From there, the 'stangs go to one of 28 bays. Each car then stays at the same bay for the duration of the modification process. A single technician is responsible for the work that is performed on the car, whether that be the installation of a body kit, interior work, or something more involved such as the installation of a suspension package or the ROUSHcharger supercharger and intercooler system.
The amount of work required for each vehicle varies by its content, of course, with a Stage 1 Mustang requiring only four hours or so to complete. A Stage 3 car takes about 12 hours to complete. At this time, Roush is able to push approximately twenty cars through the shop per day, with customer demand continuing to grow. It's a good problem to have.
After the vehicle is completed, the technician literally signs off on his work by attaching a placard to the engine compartment. Our test car had paint marks on many of the fasteners, left behind as an indicator that everything was thoroughly checked for proper installation.
All modifications to the interior components - such as the perforated leather inserts on our 427R seats - are performed off-line at a nearby upholstery station. The components are then shuttled back to the assembly cells.
Body components for the Roush cars and the company's popular body kits are molded elsewhere and brought in-house for final surface preparation and painting.
Some of the paint work is done by hand (in several paint booths like the one shown above), while other components receive their finish courtesy of a robotic system.
Each of the components leaves the facility matched to the factory Ford paint colors, such that the owner simply needs to install the parts on his or her vehicle. If you're buying a ROUSH car, this means that each body part will fit like it left the factory that way, and those purchasing ROUSH body kits for their own Mustangs can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bodyshop labor when compared to lower-quality kits that require substantial finish work.
Unfortunately, we can't show you many of the most impressive projects going on at ROUSH Performance - a bit of race-car construction (now that looked like a fun job), some crate motor assembly for the aftermarket, and work on several aftermarket and "factory-installed" option packages for new vehicles are just a few of things that the company works on when it's not turning out hot-rodded Mustangs and F-150s. And lest anyone think that ROUSH is only about Fords, each of the aforementioned activities were for other OEMs.
Our thanks go out to John Clark at ROUSH for taking the time to walk us through the assembly plant, and we hope that our readers enjoyed the tour as much as we did.